National Register of Historic Places in San Mateo County

National Register #94001647: Rock Magnetics Laboratory Historic American Buildings Survey
Photographed September 1995
(Click Photo to Zoom)
National Register #94001647
Rock Magnetics Laboratory
345 Middlefield Road
Menlo Park
Built During WWII
Demolished 1997

The Rock Magnetics Laboratory was the site of research by Richard Doell, Allan Cox, and Brent Dalrymple. Their research established and dated reversals in the Earth's magnetic field, and helped to confirm the theory of plate tectonics, the major revolution in earth science in the twentieth century.

The Rock Magnetics Laboratory was a one-story, barracks style temporary building, originally part of a World War II military hospital. The walls were covered by rolled asphalt material, and the building was set on a concrete slab. It became known as the "tarpaper shack;" its lack of metal supports made it ideally suited for the needs of the lab.

Originally constructed as a temporary building, it was in extremely poor condition and was finally demolished in 1997.

Prior to demolition, Historic American Engineering Record documentation was collected and the historic instrumentation was relocated to a new laboratory building, now called the Paleomagnetics Laboratory.

The Landmark designation of the Rock Magnetics Laboratory was withdrawn on March 8, 1999, and the property was removed from the National Register of Historic Places.

Source: National Parks Service

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